The causes for wisdom

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:29 am

Dan74 wrote:It's not controversial to suggest that attachment to ritual is a hindrance to be overcome or let gone of in due course. But if one suggests that formalised practice is harmful and should be foregone in favour of some other non-formal practice in all cases, then this view really does need defending.


I'm also unsure of where "formal" ends and "non-formal" begins. It seems that there is always some kind of methodology involved.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:31 am

porpoise wrote:I'm also unsure of where "formal" ends and "non-formal" begins.

Indeed every practice is "formal" in some way. I would rather speak of stereotyped practice, the definition of which would be that there is a dichotomy between what happens at the physical or vocal levels, or even at the surface of the mind, and what really happens at the deeper levels of the mind. This comes from the fact that people tend to assimilate the kammically fruitful action with the physical or vocal action, disregarding the fact that it is only mental volition that defines the quality of the action.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:48 am

Our practice is our life. There is no on and off. Sitting meditation is or can be just another part of our life (like eating a sandwich?).
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:02 am

Mr Man wrote:Our practice is our life. There is no on and off. Sitting meditation is or can be just another part of our life (like eating a sandwich?).


robertk wrote:It is not that sitting and watching the breath or watching bodily sensations is going to help or hinder the path, anymore than me chosing the Belly Sandwich Shop in preference to Subway.


One eats a sandwich for sustenance. If we take the Buddha's teachings and admonitions concerning the need for formal sitting practice seriously, it is of a bit more significance than choosing between one shop or another, and it is a bit more than just eating a sandwich.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:37 pm

DAN:It reminds me of Krishnamurti who argued that the mind is already so rigid and conditioned and full of conflicts and dualities, that to impose another structure on it like that of formalised spiritual practice is like to clean off dirt with mud. I think he overestimated people's capacity and resolve and that's why his legacy is dwindling fast.

Hi dan
I think mr. K thought that all that was needed was to let go of attachment to ritual and special practice.
But as this thread shows one also needs the deep explanations of the khandhas , the dhatus, the ayatanas and the causes and conditions for them, that the Buddha gave. These teachings of the Buddha are then confirmed in every moment that satisampajanna arises; so that if one is eating a sandwich for example, there is direct understanding of taste or hardness or sound or color or seeing or desire or aversion etc.

In other words he had the right idea in that he saw the danger in silabataparamasa but didnt have the conditions to go further.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:15 pm

robertk wrote:
DAN:It reminds me of Krishnamurti who argued that the mind is already so rigid and conditioned and full of conflicts and dualities, that to impose another structure on it like that of formalised spiritual practice is like to clean off dirt with mud. I think he overestimated people's capacity and resolve and that's why his legacy is dwindling fast.

Hi dan
I think mr. K thought that all that was needed was to let go of attachment to ritual and special practice.
But as this thread shows one also needs the deep explanations of the khandhas , the dhatus, the ayatanas and the causes and conditions for them, that the Buddha gave. These teachings of the Buddha are then confirmed in every moment that satisampajanna arises; so that if one is eating a sandwich for example, there is direct understanding of taste or hardness or sound or color or seeing or desire or aversion etc.

In other words he had the right idea in that he saw the danger in silabataparamasa but didnt have the conditions to go further.


Hi Robert and thank you for replying.

Krishnamurti was big on inquiry, so it's not quite fair to say that he "thought that all that was needed was to let go of attachment to ritual and special practice" but we probably shouldn't get sidetracked.

In various teachings the Buddha addressed the people of different personalities, potentialities and capacities and it is not clear to me that "the deep explanations of the khandhas, the dhatus, the ayatanas and the causes and conditions for them" is something that needs to be learned by everyone. Some may discover them for themselves in due course.

With my students too, some need more explanation, others need less. Some need more here and others more there. But above all, it is important to learn to inquire and discover. Following another person's roadmap, one has to be careful to look under one's feet and not to stumble. Even more importantly, one has to look around carefully to see where one is, otherwise the map will lead to quite a different place than intended. Perhaps even more fundamentally, it can be argued that a map can only lead so far, as mr k said "truth is a pathless land", which I understand to mean that we all have to find our own way in it, with the words of our teacher - a lamp that lights the way.

So, I am still at a loss to see how without an intense meditation practice one can investigate the sense bases and the khandas and the causes and conditions for them. As far as I can make out, no explanation can suffice in the end and one needs to actually see the functioning, to become aware. A coarse untrained mind is not going to be able to do that. All such a mind will see are the coarse arising and passing away, but the subtle will remain obscure.

So how can we dispense with a training of the mind to perceive and let go of the defilements without meditation? Maybe one blessed by kamma of aeons of cultivation and a subtle and agile mentality can do that, but most of us can't.

Most of us also cannot summon up enough resolve to truly look into it and relinquish but through practice develop an affinity with the wholesome while seeing the shortcoming and unsatisfactoriness of the unwholesome and the vital importance of practice. The coarse pleasures are hard to give up without a mind trained in insight that is able to see them for what they truly are rather than simply try to believe the teachings. Belief is always built on a shaky ground and can crumble given enough pressure, but one who knows is secure. Without a deep training that brings about a clarity and depth of seeing, how can we hope to see past our attachments?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:44 pm

Dan74 wrote:Most of us also cannot summon up enough resolve to truly look into it and relinquish but through practice develop an affinity with the wholesome while seeing the shortcoming and unsatisfactoriness of the unwholesome and the vital importance of practice. The coarse pleasures are hard to give up without a mind trained in insight that is able to see them for what they truly are rather than simply try to believe the teachings. Belief is always built on a shaky ground and can crumble given enough pressure, but one who knows is secure. Without a deep training that brings about a clarity and depth of seeing, how can we hope to see past our attachments?
And that pretty much describes why the Buddha carefully outlined and implored us to take a path of disciplined meditative practice as part of the Eightfold Path.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:13 am

beeblebrox wrote:
dhamma follower wrote:. . . if one believes that there is a self who can condition dhammas as wished, which is the underlying idea of "formal practice" how can there be detachment from an idea of self?


Hi Dhamma Follower,

Who in this thread said that there was a self that conditions the dhammas as it wished?

If someone thought that a self was necessarily behind the idea of a formal practice, then which one of these (the person, or the practice) do you think has a view of the self in the first place?

:anjali:


Dear BBB,

The idea of a self goes hand in hand with the idea that dhammas do not depend only on conditions to arise.

If one thinks that it is the formal practice- of which the underlying emphasis is the intention to do something in particular, as opposed to just going about our daily chores naturally- that is needed for the arising of understanding, one is actually assuming (may be unknowingly) a self who can intend to make sati to arise in certain circumstances.

I think this common belief (that I used to have too) comes from lacking understanding of what sati is and the conditions for its arising. Hence, very common knowing of what's going on is mistaken for sati, and intention is mistaken to be condition for sati to arise.

Let's see what the texts say:

Mindfulness, sati, is one of the nineteen sobhana cetasikas which have to arise with each sobhana citta. The Atthasdlini (I, Part IV, Chapter 1, 121) states that the characteristic of mindfulness is "not floating away'. Mindfulness "does not allow the floating away of moral states", such as the four applications of mindfulness and the other factors leading to enlightenment. Another characteristic of mindfulness the Atthasalini mentions is "acquiring" or "taking up" (1 In Pali: upaganhana.), that is, acquirement of what is useful and beneficial. Mindfulness, when it arises, "searches well the courses of states, advantageous and disadvantageous: -'these states are advantageous, those disadvantageous, these states are serviceable, those not serviceable'- and then removes the disadvantageous and takes up the advantageous."

The Atthasalini then gives another definition of mindfulness:
... Mindfulness has "not floating away" as its characteristic, unforgetfulness as its function, guarding, or the state of facing the object, as its manifestation, firm remembrance (sanna) or application in mindfulness as regards the body, etc., as proximate cause. It should be regarded as a door-past from being firmly established in the object, and as a door-keeper from guarding the door of the senses.
…..

As we have seen, the Atthasalini states that the proximate cause of mindfulness is firm remembrance (sanna) or the four applications of mindfulness (satipatthana). There can be mindfulness of the nama or rupa which appears because of firm remembrance of all we learnt from the teachings about nama and rupa. Listening is mentioned in the scriptures as a most important condition for the attainment of enlightenment, because when we listen time and again, there can be firm remenbrance of the Dhamma. Mindfulness is different from remembrance, sanna. Sanna accompanies every citta; it recognizes the object and "marks" it, so that it can be recognized again. Mindfulness, sati, is not forgethe of what is wholesome. It arises with sobhana cittas. But when there is sati which is non-forgetfuI of dana, sila, of the object of calm or, in the case of vipassana, of the nama and rupa appearing at the present moment, there is also kusala sanna which remembers the object in the fight way, in the wholesome way.
The other proximate cause of mindfulness is the four applications of mindfulness or satipatthana (1 satipatthana means mindfulness of vipassana or the object of mindfulness of vipassana.) . All realities can be object of mindfulness in the development of insight and are thus included in the four applications of mindfulness which are rupa, feeling, citta and dhamma. For those who have accumulations to develop calm to the degree of jhana and to develop insight as well, also jhanacitta can be object of mindfulness in vipassana, in order to see it as non-self. Right understanding of realities is developed through mindfulness of any nama or rupa which appears now, be it akusala citta, maha-kusala citta, jhanacitta or any other reality. One should not try to direct mindfulness to a particular object; there is no self who can have power over any reality or who can direct sad. There is not any reality which is excluded from the four applications of mindfulness.

http://www.vipassana.info/cetasikas28.html

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:31 am

Dear Tilt,

The interesting question here is what constitutes a ritual? The reality is, of course, that whatever practice we start doing one is very likely to have a variety of ideas and feelings about it that are not reflective of a mature practice in line with the Dhamma. The maturity comes with experience and insight. Doing a disciplined practice, could easily be called a ritual, but if the practice is done well, in accordance to principles of the Dhamma, then the various subtle attachment will expose themselves in light of the ongoing insights one will have as a result of the meditation and Eightfold Path practice. Why would we think it would be otherwise? Any practice one does, be it a formal, disciplined meditation practice, a Sujin style practice, or whatever is always going to be susceptible to being side tracked or failing because one might become overly rigid and locked into a particular point of view, which is why working with good teachers is of great benefit.


Actually, when one talks about a situation, one actually refers to an uncountable numbers of moments arising and passing away. In such a given situation (ex: a retreat), there are certainly many moments of akusala alternating with moments of kusala, many moments of ignorance alternating with some moments of understanding. Therefore, it is very likely one is unclear about what conditions what. But the Buddha was very clear about what conditions panna, and they are: listening to the right dhamma and wise considering of what is heard (yoniso manasikara). That can condition, in due course, the arising of direct understanding of realities as they are (dhammanudhamma patipada). Apart from those moments, it is not the cultivation of vipassana pana at all. And no special environment is needed for these to occur.


One cannot force wisdom, but one can certainly cultivate the conditions that give rise to wisdom.


The conditions that give rise to wisdom are mentioned above. I don't see anything to do with a formal practice.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:The practical, experiential reality is, of course, you really won't know or have an idea of what attachments and other such problems there are in your mind/body process that will obstruct your cultivation of calmness until you actually do the practice to cultivate calmness and then actually bump into these problems and then have to deal with them in the light of awareness. If you do not do the practice, these issues may never clearly arise, and you'll never know. And much the same can be said for vipassana.


Are you implying the words of the Blessed One are not good enough? I think the problem comes rather from not reflecting enough on his words. If there's more reflecting on his words, which point to all what we experience in our daily life, it can condition a lot more understanding. However, in our deep rooted self-view and desire to get result, we try to "do" something, even to the point of putting his words aside and believing more in our own interpretation based on our deluded perception.

We say we take refuge in the Buddha, but do we really take his words to heart and examine them?

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby dhamma follower » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:51 am

Dear Dan,

In various teachings the Buddha addressed the people of different personalities, potentialities and capacities and it is not clear to me that "the deep explanations of the khandhas, the dhatus, the ayatanas and the causes and conditions for them" is something that needs to be learned by everyone. Some may discover them for themselves in due course.


What, in your understanding, is the difference between a Sravaka (a hearer) and a Buddha?

If someone can discover them-selves the same truth than the Buddha has taught, not based on what he has learnt and considered a great deal from a Buddha, he must be either a Sammasambuddha, or a Paccekabuddha.

Brgrds,

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:09 am

dhamma follower wrote:
The idea of a self goes hand in hand with the idea that dhammas do not depend only on conditions to arise.
Who has said, implied, or suggested here that dhammas do not depend upon conditions?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:22 am

Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our message to you.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby SamKR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:38 am

dhamma follower wrote:[...] But the Buddha was very clear about what conditions panna, and they are: listening to the right dhamma and wise considering of what is heard (yoniso manasikara). That can condition, in due course, the arising of direct understanding of realities as they are (dhammanudhamma patipada). Apart from those moments, it is not the cultivation of vipassana pana at all. And no special environment is needed for these to occur.


dhamma follower wrote:If one thinks that it is the formal practice- of which the underlying emphasis is the intention to do something in particular, as opposed to just going about our daily chores naturally- that is needed for the arising of understanding, one is actually assuming (may be unknowingly) a self who can intend to make sati to arise in certain circumstances.

Hello dhamma follower,

Do the conditions stated in the first quote above (ie.,listening to the right dhamma and wise considering of what is heard) arise on their own out of nowhere? Or, do their arising succeed the intention to listen and consider wisely?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Virgo » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:11 am

SamKR wrote:Do the conditions stated in the first quote above (ie.,listening to the right dhamma and wise considering of what is heard) arise on their own out of nowhere? Or, do their arising succeed the intention to listen and consider wisely?

Hello:

The intention also only arises based on conditions. For example, one has listened to Dhamma in the past, one thinks there maybe some benefit, one likes the voice of the person speaking, one has respect for Dhamma from past experience with it, etc.

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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:17 am

dhamma follower wrote:Dear Dan,

In various teachings the Buddha addressed the people of different personalities, potentialities and capacities and it is not clear to me that "the deep explanations of the khandhas, the dhatus, the ayatanas and the causes and conditions for them" is something that needs to be learned by everyone. Some may discover them for themselves in due course.


What, in your understanding, is the difference between a Sravaka (a hearer) and a Buddha?

If someone can discover them-selves the same truth than the Buddha has taught, not based on what he has learnt and considered a great deal from a Buddha, he must be either a Sammasambuddha, or a Paccekabuddha.

Brgrds,

D.F


Hi DF

Of course we are all well-served to study the teachings - this is not in dispute. The question to me is how do we apply the teachings in our lives?

Do we verify the Dhamma through experience by insight into its actual workings as it happens, do we train the mind so that it is clear and sharp, to see how defilement and clinging arises and cut it off at the root? Or do we rely on the words and trust our untrained confused and deluded mind to apply them properly?
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:31 am

Greetings,

Dan74 wrote:Do we verify the Dhamma through experience by insight into its actual workings as it happens, do we train the mind so that it is clear and sharp, to see how defilement and clinging arises and cut it off at the root? Or do we rely on the words and trust our untrained confused and deluded mind to apply them properly?

I feel there's something of a false dichotomy emerging here... as if "the words" (in the second option) have no connection to "the Dhamma" (in the first option). Whereas actually, they are one and the same.

We learn the Dhamma to establish Right View, and then confirm the truth of that view by observing for ourselves that it is true through its application via the Noble Eightfold Path. This application builds confidence, joy, and is conducive to release.

On one hand it can be said that Right View is the cause for wisdom and is indeed wisdom itself (and Robert has already provided support for this), but the fulfilment of the entire Noble Eightfold Path is the validation of that Dhamma, and it is the path that leads to release, so one's Right View becomes all the more refined over time as the path is followed. We see a couple of examples of differently evolved forms of Right View in MN 117.

However, without Right View, there is no Right Path in the first place (again, the suttas are quite clear on this point). So in relation to "the causes of wisdom", Right View is the fore-runner - not some rear-runner by-product of activity.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Dan74 wrote:Do we verify the Dhamma through experience by insight into its actual workings as it happens, do we train the mind so that it is clear and sharp, to see how defilement and clinging arises and cut it off at the root? Or do we rely on the words and trust our untrained confused and deluded mind to apply them properly?

I feel there's something of a false dichotomy emerging here... as if "the words" (in the second option) have no connection to "the Dhamma" (in the first option). Whereas actually, they are one and the same.

We learn the Dhamma to establish Right View, and then confirm the truth of that view by observing for ourselves that it is true through its application via the Noble Eightfold Path. This application builds confidence, joy, and is conducive to release.

On one hand it can be said that Right View is the cause for wisdom and is indeed wisdom itself (and Robert has already provided support for this), but the fulfilment of the entire Noble Eightfold Path is the validation of that Dhamma, and it is the path that leads to release, so one's Right View becomes all the more refined over time as the path is followed. We see a couple of examples of differently evolved forms of Right View in MN 117.

However, without Right View, there is no Right Path in the first place (again, the suttas are quite clear on this point). So in relation to "the causes of wisdom", Right View is the fore-runner - not some rear-runner by-product of activity.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro

There is no false dichotomy of course, but a simple rhetorical device to elicit any potential source of disagreement.

I am still not sure what Robert and DF are suggesting. No one has discounted the Right View as the foundation of practice. It's just not the whole thing. As far as I can make out the Noble Eightfold Path also contains Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration:

(SN 45.8)

And what, monks, is right mindfulness?

(i) There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in and of itself—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(ii) He remains focused on feelings in and of themselves—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(iii) He remains focused on the mind in and of itself—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.

(iv) He remains focused on mental qualities (dhammesu[54]) in and of themselves—ardent, aware, and mindful—putting away greed and distress with reference to the world.
This, monks, is called right mindfulness.


Bhikkhu Bodhi comments:

The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event. All judgments and interpretations have to be suspended, or if they occur, just registered and dropped.


Right concentration (DN 22):

And what is right concentration?

(i) Herein a monk aloof from sense desires, aloof from unwholesome thoughts, attains to and abides in the first meditative absorption [jhana], which is detachment-born and accompanied by applied thought, sustained thought, joy, and bliss.

(ii) By allaying applied and sustained thought he attains to, and abides in the second jhana, which is inner tranquillity, which is unification (of the mind), devoid of applied and sustained thought, and which has joy and bliss.

(iii) By detachment from joy he dwells in equanimity, mindful, and with clear comprehension and enjoys bliss in body, and attains to and abides in the third jhana, which the noble ones [ariyas] call "dwelling in equanimity, mindfulness, and bliss".

(iv) By giving up of bliss and suffering, by the disappearance already of joy and sorrow, he attains to, and abides in the fourth jhana, which is neither suffering nor bliss, and which is the purity of equanimity — mindfulness.
This is called right concentration.


So I am at a loss how these practices appear to have been dismissed as rituals or formal. If I am missing the point, perhaps you or the others can explain.
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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:13 am

Greetings Dan,

No one has discounted the Right View as the foundation of practice. It's just not the whole thing.

OK, but there is no "Right Practice" (i.e. Noble Eightfold Path) without Right View. I believe that's called "a necessary, but not sufficient" criteria.

Dan74 wrote:So I am at a loss how these practices appear to have been dismissed as rituals or formal. If I am missing the point, perhaps you or the others can explain.

Well, you've basically just quoted two aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path, and I've already explained the importance of the N8P in the post above... so I won't revisit those. There may be something you wish Robert or DF to say in response to those, so I'll leave them to do so if they wish.

What is needed to make those factors you mention "Right" however, is a foundation in Right View. If someone does certain exercises without Right View as the foundation, the exercise itself will not be Right, and no amount of effort or sincere dedication to that activity will make it otherwise. If someone does an exercise (whether it be selecting a sandwich, sacrificing goats, or sitting down with closed eyes) in the absence of Right View (and thereby does not understand the Dhammic causality associated with the exercise and are doing it simply out of faith that understanding will arise simply as a consequence of doing the activity) then that exercise could well be described as a ritual, to which one could become attached.

[Note: and before anyone takes umbrage at those words, please note the IF operator at the start of those sentences... if the IF condition is false, the resulting sentence does not apply]

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The causes for wisdom

Postby SamKR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:28 am

Virgo wrote:
SamKR wrote:Do the conditions stated in the first quote above (ie.,listening to the right dhamma and wise considering of what is heard) arise on their own out of nowhere? Or, do their arising succeed the intention to listen and consider wisely?

Hello:

The intention also only arises based on conditions. For example, one has listened to Dhamma in the past, one thinks there maybe some benefit, one likes the voice of the person speaking, one has respect for Dhamma from past experience with it, etc.

Kevin


Hello Kevin,
True, that the intention also arises based on conditions. No doubt.

dhamma follower wrote:If one thinks that it is the formal practice- of which the underlying emphasis is the intention to do something in particular, as opposed to just going about our daily chores naturally- that is needed for the arising of understanding, one is actually assuming may be unknowingly) a self who can intend to make sati to arise in certain circumstances.


My questions is: How is this intention to do "formal" practice necessarily different from intention to listen and consider right dhamma? How only this so called "formal" practice is based on wrong view of self? Can't the so called "formal" practice be practiced without wrong view of self? Can't there be conditions for the intention to practice formally (other than wrong view of self) just like there are conditions for the intention to listen and consider dhamma (as Kevin stated above)?

No one would deny that hearing the Dhamma and wise-consideration is necessary. I think the "formal" practices are rightly done only after hearing the right Dhamma and having wise consideration. If not, then they will of course become blind rituals -- just as listening to the "right dhamma" is also suceptible to become a ritual.

Edit: corrected a sentence
SamKR
 
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